The first week of the year is always crazy on campus.
Students move in.
Tons of events.
Odd hours on campus.
Student Orgs Fairs.
Trying to meet as many new students as possible.
First Nav Night of the year.
Getting back into the routine of early mornings and late nights and students for dinner and events on the weekends. And trying to remember a billion new names and follow through on any interested students.
You get the gist.
Well, I must be feeling better as this year we decided to smoosh a whole lot more crazy into our week, so much so, that while Freshmen just moved in TODAY I feel like I've already conquered the world this fall :-)
On Wednesday night we did the very dumb or very wise thing of sending out our newsletters-- all 500 of them. On Thursday our 12-15 Student Leaders returned for two days of meetings (and two days of food... planned and prepped by me and thankfully Ms. Super Competant Leanne :-) And then Saturday we hosted LAUNCH 2014. It was an idea Noah had almost 2 years ago while still living in Champaign and last year we tried it and it was a huge success. So we decided to do it agian this year. We did it yesterday SO that all of our returning students could invite their parents to come on the SAME day they could move in their son or daughter (any returning student). So we had 60ish people for lunch and a program at our house AND prayer on campus yesterday. What an amazing way to start the year!!
Today right after church Noah went to campus to help with freshmen move in... Nothing like carrying futons up 10 flights of stairs for 4.5 hours to wear you out (and remind you that you aren't 18 anymore:-) As if suffering the late night Badgers loss wasn't tiring enough last night!! ha! And now Noah is on campus connecting with as many new freshman as possible.
It's been exhausting. It's been exhilarating. It's been amazing. I'm realizing how GRATEFUL I am for the incredible staff I had in college- both Ronni and Katie are INSANELY AMAZING at hosting and cooking and doing all it takes to make these sorts of weeks work. I have learned SOOOO much from them, I can't even imagine trying to do any of this without their example!
And I'm tremendously thankful for Nick and Leanne-our amazing staff! They know our house and our family so well that either of them could single handedly unload our dishwasher, find coffee extra plates, clean our house or play with our kids. They know how to jump in and help in any way at any time- AND THEY DO!
My parents were here by 9:15 am on Saturday morning and helped SO much, not to mention SO MANY OTHERS who helped in so many ways. It was amazing.
But of course, above all, I want to point out two amazing ways that God worked this weekend- as It is TRULY Him who is working. Our theme verse and mission for LAUNCH was Psalm 127:1. It's a verse Noah and I remind ourselves of often, " Unless The Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless The Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain."
All we do and all the ways we host and love and serve and plan and reach out and invest etc would be TOTALLY in vain if it weren't for The Lord.
So Noah woke up Saturday morning to read his Bible- he has been reading and praying through the Psalms. And as much as it may be hard to believe, he turned to Psalm 127---- the Psalm for the day for him. How cool that MONTHS ago we planned LAUNCh and Noah's been reading Psalms for quite a while- and God blessed him with a sweet reminder of His presence.
Okay, that was a bonus story- I guess I have three stories. So here are the two I was planning to share.
1) We rented a tent form the hardware store as our garage was maxed out with 35 people last year and this year we had 60+ RSVPs... and after a few hours of Noah and three students setting it up Friday night, it gets dark and we are thrilled it worked, and Noah checks the weather- 40 MPH winds thru the night and thrunderstorms the next day. It had seemed like the weather was questionable for Saturday all week, but we just kept going with it. It was POURING as we set up at 11 am - but it was dry and beautiful at 11:30 when we started. The plan was to head to campus from 1-2 to pray- and at 12:50 it looked like a go. So they went. And it DID NOT RAIN! At 2ish, people returned and some stayed to clean up. The tent went down super fast and was just getting loaded into our van to return at 2:30 when it started to pour. It was pouring at 11 am, It was pouring at 2:30 pm but IT DID NOT RAIN FROM 11:30-2 during our event. Is that not amazing???
2) We had originally scheduled to have our student leaders at our house tonight for dinner after move in- to bless them, thank them, and make plans for how we would be reaching out to freshmen in the next weeks ( A year ago we only had 3 students in the ministry returning to help reach out- this year we have 15, so we have some new options!) But Leanne suggested we make plans to eat on campus instead and invite freshmen to join for their first meal in the dining hall. We thought this was a great idea, but we knew this would be $$ as students without meal plans are like $10+ for a meal. We were totally fine with paying it, BUT - Guess what each person who helped with move-in today got?? A FREE meal ticket good for tonight only. Thanks God! (See the picture of Noah on his way out the door ).
We stand amazed at how The Lord truly goes before us.... Please be praying for the many interactons we and our students will be having with new students this week (and in the weeks to come). This first week is so very imporatnt.
Oh, and if you're wondering. Yes- we're tired BUT I still nap every day and I miss out on a lot of campus stuff to keep up with my own health, the girls, our family, etc. Here's a classic picture of Ellie and Josie before bed- both in love with their blankies and "baby Ella" as Josie calls her.